Sen. Rand Paul signaled that the Senate should give President Obama room to negotiate with Iran before it votes on economic sanctions on the country.
During a Freedom Partners Forum event with fellow Republicans Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Paul indicated that although he supports sanctions on Iran, Republicans should wait until the diplomatic talks failed.
“If it fails I will vote to resume sanctions and I would vote to– vote to actually have new sanctions,” he said. “But if you do it in the middle of the negotiations you’re ruining it.”
The forum was monitored by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl on Sunday, who questioned the potential 2016 candidates about their views on foreign policy.
Paul indicated that he remained skeptical of Obama, but believes that president should be given a chance.
“I don’t trust the president. I don’t believe or support him on almost anything he does. But at the same time, I do think diplomacy is better than war and we should give diplomacy a chance,” Paul said.
Cruz offered a different perspective, pointing out that a nuclear armed Iran was “the single greatest national security threat facing the United States today.”
He compared the diplomacy talks to the failed Clinton effort to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The problem with Iran is Khamenei and the Mullahs are radical, religious, Islamic nutcases,” Cruz said as the crowd laughed. “And that’s a technical term.”
Cruz criticized the Obama administration for easing some sanctions with Iran before the diplomatic effort, describing it the “worst negotiation in the history of mankind.”
Paul clarified his position, pointing out that if he were in charge of the negotiations he would have “delayed any release of sanctions until we saw compliance.”